By Scott Meeks

Farmers markets are booming this time of year. But before you head off this weekend, there are three insider secrets you'll want to bring along! They're sure to keep your next trip eco-friendly and economical.

Let's make a deal.

At the end of a long, hot day, most farmers have no desire to haul their leftovers home. So get ready to bargain! Most are willing to sell their goods at deep discounts versus packing it up, loading it up and driving it all the way back to their farm. And if you're willing to buy in bulk, farmers will be more than happy to work a deal with you.

Also, if you see fruits or veggies that might look a little rough, offer to take that off your farmer's hands too. These fruits may not be pretty but are still delicious. And they're perfect for canning or freezing.

There's more to the market than produce.

Yes, there are amazing fruits and vegetables at every corner. But don't overlook local artisans and crafters. You can find all sorts of other goods - like homemade soaps, local artwork, clothing, herbs -- you name it! They're products that you might have overlooked before, but are truly worth a checking out.

Be a loyal customer.

Chat up your farmers and vendors. You'll learn all sorts of things. What are their growing methods? Where are they from? How long have they been at the market? The better you know your suppliers, the more of a connection you'll have to your food and other finds. Plus, if you're friendly, they'll probably give you better deals!

Scott Meeks is a passionate environmental journalist, lifestylist and author. You can learn more about him and his eco-ways at